Baywatch Tales (This Week’s Movies)


Johnny Depp, Kaya Scodelario: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (courtesy Peter Mountain/Disney)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly.

Baywatch. “The raunchiness includes male nudity involving a corpse, which is really a phrase that sums up a certain kind of Hollywood comedy in recent years.”

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. “The plot is a tired rehash. Still, there’s something to be said for big, buoyant spectacle in a summer movie. (I mentioned the ghost sharks, right?)”

Movie Diary 5/24/2017

Beatriz at Dinner (Miguel Arteta, 2017). The early festival reports on this seemed be generally blah, as though Arteta and screenwriter Mike White had let us down by not providing more audience gratification in this portrait of a humble masseuse (Salma Hayek) meeting a Trumpian exploiter (John Lithgow). But instead it’s a movie of real mystery, which is a trade I will take. (screens at SIFF)

Something Wild (Jonathan Demme, 1986). The shifts in tone in this road movie seem less shifty now and more woven into what is always an unstable plot. Lots of good stuff, and pure Demme, in the stray bits of Americana that go flicking past as the story hurtles along.

Movie Diary 5/23/2017

Baywatch (Seth Gordon, 2017). A movie relentlessly makes fun of the TV series it is based on; the expected rancid humor results. Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, and assorted beach bodies are the human-like figures that star. (full review 5/26)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg, 2017). The fifth movie in a franchise. Some of the spectacle is actual spectacle, so we can certainly say that. (full review 5/26)

The Trip to Spain (Michael Winterbottom, 2017). Third movie with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon traveling, eating, and goofing. A little less interestingly morbid than the previous chapter, but probably funnier. (Some extended riffing on Roger Moore now stands as a fitting RIP.) (screens at SIFF)

The Alien Lovers (This Week’s Movies)


Bad Black, a film in this year’s SIFF (courtesy Wakaliwood)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly.

Alien: Covenant. “Covenant is the first one that truly feels like an attempt to dumb it down to formula.”

The Lovers. “It’s grown-up and surprising, and there’s pleasure to be had in watching two accomplished performers play against each other.”

And a preview of the Seattle International Film Festival.

Movie Diary 5/17/2017

Bad Black (Nabwana I.G.G, 2016). An inordinate amount of movie-watching exhilaration is contained in this Ugandan film’s 68 minutes. It is nonsensical, crude, and tongue-in-cheek. I was grateful. (screens at SIFF)

The Net (Kim Ki-duk, 2016). This director has made like a dozen movies since 3-Iron in 2004, which means there are too few hours in the day to keep up with everything. This one, about a North Korean fisherman who accidentally steers into South Korean territory, is a barbed look at how both countries mishandle the stalemate. (screens at SIFF)

The Fixer (Adrian Sitaru, 2016). A strong, thoughtful piece from Romania about a news crew’s efforts to interview a girl who has been recently rescued from having been kidnapped into prostitution. Some points are made perhaps too easily, but they’re good points. (screens at SIFF)

Movie Diary 5/16/2017

After the Storm (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2016). Another gentle study from the director of one of my faves of last year, Our Little Sister. This one is not at that level, and it features a rather maddening protagonist (played by the lanky Hiroshi Abe), but it has some sweet and bittersweet moments. (screens at SIFF, with Kore-eda in town this weekend)

Endless Poetry (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 2016). One of the surprises of recent years was the cult-maker of El Topo returning as an octogenarian film memoirist and delivering The Dance of Reality (2013), a somewhat normal (if still wild and crazy) movie. This one picks up where that one left off, literally, and is another spirited, humorous look at Jodorowsky’s art-life as a young man. It’s insufferable at times, and the sensibility is pure Sixties, but it’s somehow hard to resist, too. (screens at SIFF)

Yourself and Yours (Hong Sang-soo, 2016). Another of Hong’s relationship-movie-as-guessing-games, very small in size but with the sense of being about something. A man scolds his girlfriend for her drinking, at which point she either begins masquerading as someone else or is mirrored by a heretofore unmentioned twin sister. (screens at SIFF)

King Snatched (This Week’s Movies)


Charlie Hunnam: King Arthur (Daniel Smith/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. “For all the alleged comradeship meant to convey fun—at times Ritchie seems to be nodding at Robin Hood more than King Arthur—the film is joyless.”

Snatched. “The anything-goes approach that gets a big laugh from a guy getting fatally spiked by a spear gun doesn’t sit all that well next to the attempts at mother-daughter reconciliation.”

Tonight, join Framing Pictures for another free conversation about movies. From our Facebook page: “Framing Pictures rolls into May with every intention of talking about what we didn’t talk about in April: namely, “Five Came Back,” the three-part doc about the deep involvement of five top-tier Hollywood directors in covering WWII. We’ll also wander the deserts of James Gray and Werner Herzog, salute the last film by the late Andrzej Wajda, and share memories and appreciations of dear Jonathan Demme, also regrettably departed. Join the conversation in the Scarecrow Video Screening Room, 5030 Roosevelt Way N.E., 7 p.m. Friday, May 12. You do know it’s free?”